O LORD our God: “...you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing....”
A Call to Worship
Easter 2A 2017
“...I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me....”
My God: “...no wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety...”
With joy, together I praise you: “...Every good thing I have comes from you....”
Ever-present God, I thank you: “...You will show me the way of life, granting
me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
With joy-filled confidence and ever-new hope, together we sing: “...I know the
LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me...” Amen! Amen!
A psalm of David.
1 Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.
2 I said to the LORD, “You are my Master!
Every good thing I have comes from you.”
3 The godly people in the land are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!
4 Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods.
5 LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.
6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!
7 I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
9 No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Prayers of Thankfulness and Trust
God of the past, we give thanks for the way our forebears trusted you, and for the way
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they were blessed by your guidance and grace. We give our sincere thanks for the many
blessings that God has so generously showered upon God’s people as they sought to
follow in the way of truth, love and grace; and sharing the “good news” of God’s loving mercy
and God’s forgiveness of confessed sin and self-indulgence. Today, we give our thanks
for the inheritance of faith we have received from our forebears through the centuries; and
for the lessons we have learned from them, whether it was from disasters or from times
of well-being and plenty. Those godly people trusted in their Loving Father and God – and
were never denied the blessings of God’s presence with them - whatever were their needs.
God of the present, today we give thanks because every good thing we have comes from
the abundance of God’s loving mercy, whether we are worthy of those blessings or not! We
give thanks for the godly people who inspire us on our faith journey, especially those we sit
beside in worship; and those who welcome us into our sacred space with generous warmth.
We give thanks for the faithfulness of your people who bless us with their quiet, yet sincere
faith in you; and who encourage us when we are feeling flat or fragile; and when the journey
of faith hits some snags that threaten our trust and belief in a God - they are there for us to
encourage and pray with and for us so that together, we journey through our latest test of faith.
God of the future, with trust and hope we leave the future in your hands, our Creator and our
Liberator, who has nurtured us in the past; and in faith we ask God to be who God has always
been - eternal, merciful and of infinite love and mercy. We pray that the inheritance of faith in
God that we have tried to maintain and that we have shared, may also be the blessing of our
future generations. We give thanks that you have shown each of us the way to life and living
that is true to our Creator’s gifts, and the joy of your holy presence with us; so that in the future
our efforts and prayers will bring joy and pleasure to your unborn children and new followers.
God of the past, present and future, be the Guide and Comfort of people of every generation. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
Dictionaries define a “refuge” as a place of safety, shelter, and protection from
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harm, danger, distress or difficulty. Synonyms associated with ‘refuge’ include:
protection, security, asylum, sanctuary, preservation, haven, a safe or sheltered
harbour, a safe house, retreat, and in safe keeping. There are many types and
expressions of a refuge. Years ago, I attended a series of conferences in Kenya,
and as part of that trip, thanks to a small inheritance, I was able to experience a
visit the Maasai Mara region and to be introduced to the culture and lifestyle of that
area and its people. I was part of a small group of people who stayed in a refuge
where the people were protected from the ‘wild’ life by electric fences; so the
humans were in a safe haven from the indigenous animals, instead of the other
way around; and it was an amazing experience! It was great lying in bed at night,
listening to the lions roaring and the other evocative sounds of the ‘outside’ life.
|Creative pause:||“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help…” Ps 46:1|
I have an aviary of ‘love birds’, which I assume are so-named because of their
habit of all cuddling close together. They are beautiful, cheerful sounding birds—
particularly in the evening when their shriek their ‘goodnight’ songs; however,
when a bird is ageing or damaged, they are ruthless in their attacks on that bird,
killing it before anything can be done to help! I assume that is ensuring the strength
of the species, but it is not pleasant to see. While on safari in Africa, it was easy
to recognise animals or birds dangerous to humans and to their weaker species—
but humans who are a danger to vulnerable people are not so easily recognised!
One of the tragedies of our time is the urgent need for shelters for women who are
traumatised by domestic violence; and the apparently ever-increasing numbers of
victims of this repugnant violence. Traditions and cultures each play their part—
but it is a phenomena not restricted to any one nationality or any one social class!
|Creative pause:||How best can we shelter vulnerable people from their oppressors?|
When I started writing “The Timeless Psalms” in 2009, I made a list of 200 descriptions
and possible ways to address God in our prayers and meditations, but I seldom use
that list as new ideas keep coming to me – all of which inadequately address the wonders
and gracious majesty of our God. According to the “Bible Gateway” website and using
all their listed translations for the Psalms: “God is our Fortress” appears 7 times; “God
is our Stronghold” appears 10 times; and “God is our Refuge” appears 27 times; under-
lining what the first verse of Psalm 16 declares: “Keep me safe, O God, for I have come
to you for refuge....” Whether we look on God by any of these descriptions, the concept
is the same – we instinctively go to God for a sense of safety, security and protection when
in trouble, whether we are lonely, sad or bewildered by life – God is our Refuge – always!
|Creative pause:||“The LORD is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge.…” Ps 9:9|
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation,
copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
*Revised Indexing Scheme from 'Consultation on Church Union' (COCU).
I acknowledge and give heartfelt thanks for the theological help and inspiration so frequently available from the writings of Professor Walter Brueggemann and Professorial brothers Rolf and Karl Jacobson; and the resources from "The Text this Week" (Textweek).
If the Prayers and/or Meditation are used in shared worship, please provide this acknowledgement:
© 2017 Joan Stott –‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Based on verses from Psalm 16.
Used with permission.
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